This short essay does what the House Judiciary Committee’s panel of “expert witnesses” did not successfully do.
First, it explains the meaning of the Constitution’s “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” standard. Next, it discusses how that standard applies to President Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Finally, it details the kind of evidence the House Judiciary Committee should gather to determine whether the president committed an impeachable offense.
Many phrases in the Constitution—such as “necessary and proper,” “Privileges and Immunities,” and “Convention for proposing Amendments”—carry specialized 18th century meanings not obvious to the modern reader. Recall that most of the leading Founders were lawyers and the Constitution is a legal document. Some of these phrases derive from 18th century law.
Therefore, to understand them you have to consult 18th century legal materials in addition to better-known sources such as the…
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